Malaysia’s capital offers cultural, religious and culinary diversity in a crowded, polluted and somewhat chaotic city. But go beyond the surface and find ecological havens and tropical parks. Discover the top places to enjoy the outdoors and see wildlife in Kuala Lumpur most tourists miss.
Photograph orangutans at Zoo Negara
Zoo Negara, or National Zoo, gives locals and tourists the chance to see wildlife in Kuala Lumpur since opening in the 1960s. With more than 470 species of mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds, the open-concept zoo covers a whopping 100 acres of land. Featuring a variety of larger mammals and primates, including orangutans and the Malaysian Tapir as well as the zoo’s highlight: a giant panda. Plan for three hours exploring this family-friendly zoo in Kuala Lumpur.
Zoo Negara Malaysia, Jalan Ulu Kelang, Kemensah Heights, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia. Phone: +60341083422
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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Stroll through the historical Lake Gardens Park
The Lake Gardens Park, also referred to as the Botanical Gardens, is a spacious green area in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. In late 19th-century Malaya, the British created these gardens as a retreat from the growing city. Flash forward to today and it’s full of regional flora and fauna, an artificial lake and both the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park and Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park. Expect to find several types of birds, mammals and lizards as well as deer inside Deer Park.
See wild monkeys in the Orchid Gardens
Located at the highest point of Lake Gardens, this small stretch of land has an abundance of exotic orchids. But strolling through this small garden near the Botanical Gardens isn’t just for the flowers. A gang of macaque monkeys also call the area home. Pass through and be greeted with dozens of small primates sat mischievously on the trees or archways carefully observing passers-by. But hold on tight to belongings – macaques are notorious thieves! The Orchid Gardens combine the chance to photograph colourful and exotic flowers and see wildlife in Kuala Lumpur at the same time.
See hundreds of macaques at Batu Caves
The Batu Caves on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur consist of a series of Hindu temples located in the hillside caves. A total of 272 steps lead to the entrance, which hosts the world’s largest Thaipusam festival. However, aside from the religious and cultural significance, it’s also a prime spot to see wildlife in Kuala Lumpur. As visitors climb towards the temple, they’ll encounter hundreds of wild macaque monkeys on the steps, trees and inside the caves. Thousands of bats live inside the temple caves, too.
Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia. Phone: +60 1-300-88-5050
Hike in Kuala Lumpur’s Jungle
The best way to see wildlife in their natural habitat in Kuala Lumpur is to go hiking. Hills and dense jungle line some of the city’s neighbourhoods and several trails are within less than an hour of the city centre. Head to nearby Cheras and join the locals in the early morning as they follow the trails up the hills and through the jungle. Most see monkeys at some point on their trek while others may catch a glimpse of lizards, birds and even the occasional wild boar. While Cheras is technically in Selangor and not Kuala Lumpur, it can quickly be reached on public transport. Other places to hike near the capital include Puchong Hill, Gunung Tok Wan and Hutan Lipur Bukit Lagong.
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